A SERMON Preached before His GRACE the Kings Commissioner, And the Three ESTATES OF PARLIAMENT, May the 25th. 1690.

By GILBERT RULE Minister of the Gospel at Edinburgh.

EDINBƲRGH, Printed at the Society of Stationers Printing-house in Harts-Close, over-against the Trone-Church, for George Mosman Bookseller at his Shop on the South­side of the Parliament-Close, 1690.


IT was not Choice, but the Appointment of the General Meeting of the Presbyterian Ministers, which made me (with much Reluctancy) to appear before so Great and Discerning an Auditory: I was led to the Subject here treated of, by observ­ing that the Affairs of this Church▪ and its Settlement, after a long time wherein things hath been not of Course in it, were under the Parlia­ments consideration: And I was moved to allow the Printing of this Discourse, only by the Command of Authority, without which nothing could have prevailed with me to have made it so publick; wherein there is nothing to commend it, save the Divine Truths that are the matter of it. As the Interest of Religion was our solicitude when these Thoughts were conceived and delivered: So now we are filled with Joy, while we behold the Religious regard, that the High, and Honourable Court of Parliament have shewed to the Mountain of the Lords House, above other Mountains, (which they truly are, and ought to be concerned about) in the great step towards the establishing thereof, that they made by their Vote 28th. Instant, Settling the Protestant Religion, and the Presbyterian Church Go­vernment; and their proceeding to consider the other things needful, for promoting Religion in this Church, and Nation. [Page] That the Lord may help them to go on as they have begun, and hitherto acted, and reward them for their Good Deeds to­ward his House, and that he may bless what here followeth, for Soul advantage to them who read it, is the earnest Prayer of

Thine, and the Church's Servant G. R.

A SERMON ON Isaiah. 2. Chap. 2 ver.

And it shall come to pass in the last dayes, that the Mountain of the Lords house shall established in the top of the Moun­tains, and shall be exalted above the Hills: And all Na­tions shall flow unto it.

REligion, and the Church (which is the Chiefe mean of propogating it in the World) is the most contemptible thing to many men, [...]hat can be, and that which most men are least concerned about. But as it alwayes ought to be otherwayes, so the Lord here promiseth, that there shall be a time when it shall be more regarded. This promise was made to the Church before the Captivity in Babylon, that it might be a support to the Faithful in that dark Hour: And it is repeated Micha. 4. and 1. As that which was needful, and yet hard to be beleived. We are here to consider, First, the certainty of the event, It shall come to pass, Or be; Whatever unlikelyhood, or letts, may be in the way. God hath said it. Secondly, the time of it, the last dayes, the dayes of the Gospel: Or when God hath exercised his People with Tryal, he will at last put an end to their trouble, and bring this about for their comfort. Thirdly, The subject spoken of, the Mountain of the Lords House. By this, no doubt, is meant the Church, or the Religious interest of Men: Mount Zion (that is one of the two tops of it, called Mount [Page 2] Moriah, where the Temple was built) was a name ordinariely given to the Church of God: And from the Dialect of the old Testament, it is transferred to the new Testament. Wherefor, by the Mountain of the House of the Lord, is meant the Church. It is she, It is the Religion owned and professed in her, and Gods ordinances whereby she is distinguished from other Socie­ties, that is here promised to be exalted so high. The Church or the concernments of Religion may well be called a Mountain, both from her Eminency, and also from her stability. Fourthly, two things are said of this Mountain▪ her preference to other things, and her increase are both asserted For the former it is to be considered, First, absolutely, that she shall be Established [...] signifieth both preparation and fixedness: And indeed hath a great Emphasis in this place The Church shall be pre­pared: That is Men shall use the greatest application, the greatest Care, the greatest Wariness, Consideration, and Zeal; they shall imploy all their Wit. all their Activity and Care: And not only so, but the Lord will imploy his infinite Wisdom and Goodness▪ for her being setled on lasting Founda­tions: Rashness, Headiness, Indifferency, and worldly De­signs, are not like to make good work when Men are about settling the Church. It will make an ill contrived building that will not stand long The Church (saith the Text also) shall be Established That is fixed, made impregnable, so as the Malice and open enmity of Enemies, nor the treachery of false Friends shall not be able to brangle her Constitution▪ And the Lord will make her firm on the Rock▪ that the Gates of Hell shall not prevaile against her. It is also said that she shall be exalted, or be made great and glorious. God will put a Lustre on Her. And men (when the Lord poureth out the Spirit on them that seemeth to be promised in the Text) will contribute what they can to promote her Spiritual Glory. 2ly. Comparatively. The Church must be fixed and exalted above the Mountains and Hills, That is, preferred to all the other Interests of Men, [Page 3] however great they he in the Eyes of the World, the Lord will make Her more Glorious then any other Society or false Church: And men will (when this promise is fullfiled) pre­fer Her Interest to all that can be dear to them, or great in their Eyes. The other thing that is said of the Church is, that all Nations shall flow to Her, when God shall thus exalt Her, and when men shall thus shew their zeal for Her, many will come to Her, joyn with Her, submit to Her, it will be a Terrour to Enemies and an allurement to Strangers.

Diverse practical and important Truths might be observed from this Text: But I pitch upon this one, as of great use and necessity to be considered by this Audience at this time, to wit, That God will, and Men ought to prefer the Interest of the Church and Religion, to all other Concernments whatsoever.

Let us (for our more distinct procedure) consider First, What this Religious Interest is, and what are the great things to which it must be preferred. Secondly, How God will pre­fer it. Thirdly, How men should do it. Fourthly, Why it should be so.

For the First, we must consider that Christ is a King▪ Psal. 2. v. 6. And though his Kingdom be not of this World▪ Jo. 18. 36. Yet it is in this World: And his Royal Power is exercised visibly among Men. Math 28. 19, 20, with the 18. And that as distinguished from (though no way opposite to, and far less inconsistent with) the Kingdoms of men. If it be managed according to his Laws, it doth not tend to depress, but to exalt mens greatness; neither can it otherwayes curb their Excesses, then by holding forth his Law, which setteth bounds to all the Actions of Men with respect to the moral good or evil that may be in them: Now this glorious King must have a people (for here it must not be questioned, That the people are for the King, and not he for them, Isa. 43. 1. 7, 21) There must be a Seed to serve him, Psal. 22. 30. Psal. 2. 8. That the Doctrine that he hath taught be owned and believed. That [Page 4] he be Worshiped in the right Management of his Ordinances: That his Laws be declared, submitted to, and obeyed: That the government and order of his House be observed, as he hath held it forth and injoyned it: And all this for the promoting of Holiness, restraining of Sin, and the Salvation of Men. This, I say, is that Mountain; that great Concernment, that the Lord doth, and Men should prefer before all things else. There are indeed other Mountains; things that are great and Momentous in the Eyes of Men, which may and ought, in their own place, to have a due regard. But must no wayes vie with the Mountain of the Lords House, with the great things that concern the Church and Religion. The greatness and Prerogatives of Kings; the Establishment of Earthly Throns; and the Liberties and Priviledges of People, the security and safety of the present Government and Constitution of a Nation, the advancement of Trade and enriching of a Nation: These are great things, and by all good means must be secured, so far as Men can do it: Yet none of these separately, nor all of them in Conjunction, are of so much value, as that they should be preferred to this Mountain that the text speaketh of: But it must be set above them all. It is true there is such a Connecti­on betwixt this Mountain and some of these Mountains, that the one cannot be safe, if the other be Ruined: And therefore, even for its safety they are to be Regarded (of which more after) But when this Spirit, that is here promised, is poured out on Men, these will be minded but in the second place.

2ly I am to shew how the Lord doth, and will preferre the Mountaine of his House, the interest of Religion, to all other Mountains, or interests, that are great in the Esteem of Men. This will appeare if we consider, First, what is positively declar­ed in the Scripture of his special respest to his Church, and her Religious concernments, above all the other interests, not only of the rest of the world, but even of his own People. A notable place to this purpose is Psal. 87. Where Gods esteem of his [Page 5] Church is purposely insisted on: It is His Foundation: It is indeed the ground of all his Dispensations to men; with respect to it is all the conduct of providence. And then, He loveth it better then all the dwellings of Jacob, neither the Kings palace▪ nor the State­ly buildings of the Nobles, none of the Civil, Publick, or Private, concernments of his [...]eople, did beare so much bulk in his Eye; yea such Glorious things are spoken, (by the Lord in his Word) of the Church, as of no other thing on Earth. And the Lord rec­koneth the honour of men not by their noble Blood, but by their relation to his Church, and concern in Religion verse 4th Egypt (under the name of Rahab) and Babylon, were then the most flourishing Kingdoms in the World: But it was a greater honour to be of poor Israel then of any of these: A well reformed Church is a greater Glory with God, then a flourishing Kingdom: Yea the warlike Philistines, the Rich trading Tyre, the ancient Aethiopia, were nothing to him, in comparison of poor Judea: Because Gods ordinances were there: ye shall please God better and do him better service, if ye make poor Scotland a well reform­ed Church, than if ye could make her richer, more potent, and splendid than any of her Neighbour Nations It is Religion that maketh People truely Honourable, for it is that which maketh them precious in Gods sight Isaiah. 43: 4. Nothing doth so truely, and in the esteem of God, and good Men, so exalt a People, as the Truth, the Purity, and the Power of Religion flourishing among them.

2ly. The Lords special respect to mens Religious▪ above their other Interests, will appeare, if we consider what he hath done for his Cuhrch. The greatest Manifestations of God and of his At­tributes that ever the World was witness to; The most Glorious things of his word, and the most eminent of his Works▪ have all had a special respect to the Church, and the true Religion. His chusing and purchasing a Church to himselfe was a Glorious passage: And that both his setting up the Jewish Church, Deut. 4. 34. Or hath God assayed to go and take him a Nation from [Page 6] the midst of another Nation, by Temptations, by Signs, and by Wonders, and by War, and by a mighty Hand, and by a stretched out Arm, and by great Terrours, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt, before your Eyes? And yet more in erecting the Gospel Church: The eternal Son of God became a man, and laid down his Life for this end Tit. 2, 14. His preserving and mantaining his Church is a Tract of Wonders, interlaced with Miracles. For the Churches Em­blem is a Bush burning and yet not consumed Exod. 3. 2. We may, with good warrand, say, that the whole conduct of Provi­dence is managed with an Eye to the Church and Religion: which cannot be said of any other interest in the World Hence Christ is not only head of his Church to rule her; but head over all things for her behove Eph. 1: 22, He made the World that he might have a People to serve him on Earth, and to praise him for ever in Heaven. Isaiah 45. 18, 19. He made all the interests of the Nations of the World, in his settling of them, subordinate to his designs for his Church. Deut. 32. 8 9. When the most high di­vided to the Nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the People according to the number of the Children of Israel▪ For the Lords Portion is his People: Jacob is the lot of his inheritance So the best Interpreters apply that text. The greatest revolutions that the World hath seen, have had respect to this interest▪ in the design of God: An instance is in destroying the Chaldean and setting up the Persian Monarchy, Isaiah. 43 14 Thus saith the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, for your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their Nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. The one persecuted the people of God, It is pulled down: and the other is set up to relieve them▪ So Cyrus got the Crown on their Account, Isaiah 45. the 1: 2: 3: 4. Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden [...]o subdue Nations before him: And I will loose the loi [...]s of Kings to open before him the two leaved gates and the [Page 7] gates shall not be shut. I will go before thee and make the crooked places straight: I will breake in pieces the gates of Brass▪ and c [...]t in sunder the Bars of Iron And I will give thee the Treasures of Darkness, and hidden Riches of secret places, that thou may­est know, that I the Lord, which call thee by thy Name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servants sake, and Israel mine Elect▪ I have even called thee by thy Name: I have surnamed thee▪ though thou hast not known me. Though the World did not so construct these events.

3ly. The same is clear by what he hath promised to do for his People: as in the Text: And Isaiah 54. 1 &c. Dan: 2▪ 44. Math. 16. 18. The like promises no State, Kingdom, Family, nor interest in the World can lay claime to▪

I proceed to the third thing above mentioned, to shew how men (even all men in their several Capacities) should imitate God in this; and contribute their endeavours to advance Religion above all things that are great or precious in the Eyes of the World. And lest any should mistake the tendency of this dis­course; I shall shew what is not to be expected of them who have true zeal for Religion, which possibly some may look on as an ad­vancement of its interest. As First, it is not advancing of Church-Men unto Worldly dignities or power: We plead not for a Pa­pacy, to be Cardinals or Prelats: Neither do we think it any advancement to the Church, that her Ministers have a share in the Civil Government. As Christs Kingdom is never of this World, so its dignity and advancement lyeth in nothing that is Worldly: Nothing but a Worldly Spirit, and a false Idea of Reli­ligion, could make Men think this an advancement to the Church▪ For it is truely a depression of Her; and putteth that as a diadem upon Her head, which the Scripture places under Her feet, Rev. 12 1. Her Glory is the Sun, Christ; and the twelve Stars; the Light of Apostolick Doctrine; Not the Moon, this inferior and changeable World.

[Page 8]Neither lyeth the Churches advancement in Spiritual, or Ec­clesiastical Domination, to be Lords over Gods Heritage, or Masters of Peoples Faith. 2. Cor. 1. 24, Not for that we have dominion over your Faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by Faith ye stand. 1. Pet. 5▪ 3. Neither as being Lords over Gods heritage: But being examples to the stock. 2. Cor. 4. 5 For we Preach not our Selves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and our Selves your Servants for Jesus sake. We pretend not to make Church Laws. But to declare these which Christ hath made, and to impose them (not what we think sit) by his Authority, and to Censure such as will not obey his Laws; not as we will, but as he hath appointed. We set up no Imperium in Imperio; but a Ministerium▪ It is true Christs servants are Cloathed with his Authority (and men should advance the Church by allowing them the free exercise of it) to declare the Laws of Christ, and to require obedience to them: And all men from the highest to the lowest ought to bring their Necks under this his yoke Yet this is far from Clashing with, or diminish­ing the Magistrat [...] Authority; or restaining the Exercise of it▪ Be­cause they differ in their Objects▪ in their Ends▪ and in their manner of Exercise But time doth not permit to enlarge on this. Neither doe we plead to be advanced to an exemption from the Laws and Authority of the Magistrate as some others do.

3dly. We plead not to be advanced to worldly Pomp and Riches: Let not the Church be so depressed▪ as that her Mini­sters be under anxious Penury; that hindereth minding their Work or contemptible Meanness; that the world be not tempted to vilify them and their work too: And we have enough.

4thly. Neither is the Church preferred, nor Religion promoted, by setting up a Pompous, Gawdy, Theatrical kind of Worship: by pretending to adorn it by modes and Religious Rites that Christ hath not instituted▪ Her greatest Beauty and visible Lustre is Gospel simplicity. So far as we go from Apostolick Purity, so far we depress Religion, and deform the Beautiful face of Christs comely Spouse.

[Page 9]Let us then consider positively, how men should set the Moun­tain of the Lords House upon the top of the Mountains: What way they must prefer Religion to other Concernments. First▪ They must Labour to secure that Interest: Not to leave it at uncertain­ty. If they be Careful (as wise men will) to make sure Work about their worldly Affairs▪ whether publick or private; much more should that Care be used in this Case. And for this end, they should be careful to build upon a good Foundation: Aposto­lick Doctrine, as it holdeth forth Christ in all his Offices; and particularly, his Kingly Office, is the only Foundation for Church work, Eph 2 20, 21, 22. And are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. In whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. In whom you also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Mens Devices and mens Politicks, lay no sure ground for the Church-Care is also to be taken, that nothing may be laid on this Foun­dation, but what is suteable to it: Let all things be done for the House of the God of Heaven, according to his will. Even a Heathen knew this to be Duty. Ezra 7. 23 See 1 Cor. 3 9 10, 11. Likewise, men should be sure, That they build upon this Foundation, and not act by Guess, in this matter: And they should build strongly; that neither open Enemies may batter, nor false Friends undermine this Building. Let Laws about Christs matters be well digested, and wisely considered, and fixed with all Care.

2dly. Let Christs Church enjoy all the Priviledges that he has granted her. If men with hold any one of them, they do not ad­vance the Mountain of the house of the Lord as they should. Sound Doctrine, Pure Ordinances, a Godly Ministry, a Government drawn from Christs Institution, and Apostolick practice, and that tendeh to advance Holiness: That it be managed by its Friends, and not by them that would Supplant it; that they may Assemble as oft as is needful for this end: That Church Officers [Page 10] be lookt out, and chosen by the People of God, and not Imposed on them by Mens will, Acts 6. 3 That the Fountains out of which a godly Seed for the Church may Issue▪ be kept pure: That Disci­pline may be duely Exercised: And whatever lets to Religion, and snares to the Serious Godly, men have framed into Laws, may be removed. This would conduce much to the Advance­ment of the Church▪ And if any of these be neglected, She is not set on the top of the Mountains, but somewhat else preferred to Her. Half Reformations are often condemned, when the high places were not removed, though many things were com­mendably Reformed there is alwayes a mark set on that Refor­mation as Sinfully defective.

3dly. The promoting of Holiness is one chief way of advanc­ing Religion, and making the Church Glorious. Holiness is Her Beauty and Cognisance, Psal 93. 5 Ezek. 43. 12. Let Laws be made and executed, for restraining the horrid Immoralities that have defaced the Church; and for encouraging true Piety.

4ly. Let no Interest be preferred to, or come in competition with, the concernment of Religion. As it can never Clash with any of the true Interests of Men: So where it is so apprehended, that men think, that either it, or they must suffer inconveniency; let it alwayes have the preference, as being of most value, and on account that due regard to it, is the way to engage the Lord to take care of mens other Interests, even when they seem to be in hazard: See for this Exod. 34 24. For I will cast out the Nati­ons before Thee, and enlarge thy Borders; neither shall any man desire thy Land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God, thrice in the year. This should be minded mainly, with the greatest zeal▪ with the greatest tenderness, lest any wrong step be made about it. An error about other matters should be look'd on as of less moment, and less dangerous consequence. If any thing must run a venture, let it not be Christs Interest.

5thly. It belongeth to this preference▪ that Religion should have, that it be postponed to no other concernment. As we are [Page 11] to seek the Kingdom of God first, with respect to our own Souls, Matth 6. 33. So must we use the same Conduct with respect to the publick and more general advancement of that Kingdom: This is to be understood, when the time of considering this Affair, may import either its esteem, its safety, or any other advantage to it. Then all things should yeild to it, even in that circum­stance. Let it not be thought (when we thus plead) that they who do most concern themselves in the Church, are either Impa­tient under necessary delayes, or would prescribe to them whom the Lord hath entrusted as the Nursing Fathers of the Church: They can with confidence Trust this to the Wisdom of such Wor­thy Patriors: But we are confident that zeal for the Church, the consideration of her present Confusions, and regard to the Souls of Men, will suggest this to them. If David was allowed to plead with God (as Psal 70. 1 5.) That the Lord would make hast to deliver and help him, and that he would make no tarrying: I hope we shall not be blamed if we so plead with men.

6thly. They that are truly zealous for advancing the Interest of the Church and Religion, will also be careful that the State be well settled. There is a connection betwixt these two, as be­tween the Soul and Body: The illness of the one affecteth the o­ther. If the Government be not supported, if that Establishment of it that is Friendly to Religion be not secured, if it be in the hands of either open Enemies, or false Friends to Truth, and to the right wayes of God, the Church cannot be safe It is true the Lord can support her (and hath done it) amidst her most Bloody Foes: But a Godly Magistracy is the ordinary means for that end. They are Nursing Fathers, Christ hath commit­ted the care of his Spouse (as to externals) to them: And this Trust they cannot well perform▪ if they let the House go to ruine over Her head. Wherefore if men will establish the Mountain of the House of God above other Mountains, They will also be duely careful of the Interest of the Nation, and that for the Churches fake, for the sake of the Protestant Religion here, and elsewhere, as well as for theit own sakes.

[Page 12]The fourth thing proposed to be Discoursed, is to give the Reasons why the Interest of Religion should be so minded▪ and that with preference to all other Interests. I may confidently affirm, that few Reasons will be needful to perswade them of this, and to incline them to it▪ who in leed understand what Religion is, and who are truely concerned in it▪ But that I may give you a few hints to this purpose. Consider First, The advancement of Religion is that whereby God is more honoured then by any other way. The Riches, Power, Splendor of his People▪ or of a Nation, or of great Ones, doth not so much honour him, as this doth: Neither doth their meaness and contempt, and low▪ condition in the World, so dishonour him, as abounding Sin, Idolatry, Superstition, Church Confusion, or other sinful courses do, see Psal 48 1, 2, 3. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the City of our God, in the Mountain of his Holiness. Beautiful for Situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the North, the City of the great King: God is known in her palaces for a refuge. Christ is King of Kings and therefore his interest is to be preferred to that of all the great men on Earth.

2ly. The Salvation of men is nearly concerned in this, the advancement of other interests may be conducive to their riches, power and Worldly greatness: But this is the mean to save their Souls. The soundness of Doctrine, the purity and liveliness of Ordinances, yea the order of the Church of God, is of great use for this end: Even that tendeth to preserve the truth and ordi­nances of God: To curb vice, and to engage men in the wayes of God: And therefore they who desire to be holy or to see ho­liness promoted among men, cannot but think it of high concern­ment that the Church be well setled. If then ye have any regard to your own immortal Souls, If ye value the Souls of People more then your Worldly concernments, make it your care to advance Religion rather then any other interest.

[Page 13] 3ly. True Religion, and the flourishing of it among a people is the greatest Glory of a Nation The poorest & most contemptible People may, by this means, have their reputation advanced in the sight of God, and in the esteem of all good men: Yea often in the Eyes of them that are but moral and intelligent, though Enemies, Deut 4 6. 7, 8 v. 6 Keep therefore and do them for this is your Wisdom, and your understanding in the sight of the Nations, which shall hear all these statuts, and say▪ surely this Nation is a wise and understanding People v. 7. For what Nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? v 8. And what Nation is there so great, that hath statutes and Judgements so righteous▪ as all this Law, which I set before you this Day. And not only so; but [...] is the way to bring down National blessings, as the neglect of Re­ligion bringeth National Curses and Ruine. As may be observed in the whole current of the Writings of the Prophets, and in the History of the Judges and Kings of Israel and Judah. If ye will set Christ on high in this poor Church, he will set the Church and Nation on high. Scotland hath in former times been renowned and esteemed among the Churches of the Reformation, upon this account. It may be an honour in after ages to your Posterity▪ that such a man was active and Faithful in that happy Parliament, that settled▪ Religion and the Church, when it had been almost ruined.

4ly Yea this is the way to secure us that we need not fear our Enemies, or them that are unfriends to our way: But rather shall be feared by them. Religion well settled and flourishing in a Nation, will render it more formidable, then strong▪ Armies or Navies could do. Gods presence among a People (and that is best obtained by the advancement of Religion amongst them) useth to strike terror into the minds of their Enemies. 1 Sam. 4: 7: 8. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said God is come unto the Camp: And they said, wo unto us▪ for their hath not been such a thing heretofore. Wo unto us who shall deliver us out of the hands of [Page 14] these mighty Gods. These are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the Wilderness Psal. 48. 4. 5, 6. For lo the Kings were assembled, they passed by together, they saw it, and so they marvelled. They were troubled, and hasted away: Fear took hold upon them and pain as of a Woman in Travel. Cant. 6. 4—Terrible as an Army with Banners.

And now to conclude with a few words for applying of what hath been said: Ye see what the Lord giveth us hope that he will do for his Church: Ye see what he calleth you in your present Sta­tion, and in the high trust that God and the Nation have reposed in you, to do for Religion. That ye should be careful to set this Mountain on the top of the Mountains, and advance it above the Hills. Wherefore let me beseech you, and obtest you in the Lord, that ye would bring home all that hath been said, to your own practice, in these three things. First beware of being defective in this, either by luke warmness, neglect and indifferency, or by pre­ferring any thing else to the well being of Religion: Beware of venturing it for a Worldly interest, either publick, or private, and selfish: For your humour, to maintain a S [...]iekle, or in pursu­ance of private Piques. Let all Christs friends lay by their animosi­ties, that they may secure and promote his interests. Religion maketh a small figure in our account▪ if it cannot thus far influ­ence us. Beware also of enmity▪ and [...]ll designs against that which the Lord will thus advance: For it will prove a Burdensome stone to any who so designe or endeavour. Zech: 12. 3, And a Cup of Trembling to them, Vers. 2. How this texr suteth with a Maxim that some men advance, that the Government of the Church should be modelled as is most sutable to that of the stare, let any Judge. For this were to set the mole▪ hils of this World above▪ and on the top of the Mountain of the Lords House. It was not so under the old Testament: For the Government of the State was often changed, but that of the Church remained the same▪ And if this were alwayes observed, Popery behoved to be under Mo­narchy: Episcopacy or Presbytery under Aristocracy▪ and [Page 16] Independency, with Democracy. Which I think none will plead. 2ly. Let this encourage every one to venture, and Act for Religion: The text telleth us, that interest will be uppermost. If we believe this, it will inspire us with courage and zeal: Gods hand is at this work, and therefore men may be encouraged, with the greatest resolution, to put their hand to it. Hag. 2: 4. Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong O Joshuah Son of Josedech, the high Priest and be strong all ye people of the Land, saith the Lord, and work, for▪ I am with you, saith the Lord of Hosts. Most of the Prophesies of Zechariah are to this pur­pose See Chap: 8: 9: 13.

3. Let this engage you to contribute all your endeavours to pro­mote the Interest of Religion; get your heart engaged to it, and then your hand will not be wanting: Love the Truths and wayes of God; and labour to get your Hearts bent for Holiness: With­out this, and where Mens own Hearts are nor first gained to God, their actings for him are like to be faint, and unsteady. Pray, and wait for Light and Guidance from the Lord, and for his help that ye may do him service in this matter. Resolve to be Faithful, and that ye will thus lay out your selves for the Lord: And be careful to lay hold on the happy occasion that the Lord hath put in your hands to do him service, in promoting of true Religion. Consider what peace it will yield you in the day of trouble, and at Death, that ye have sincerely appeared for God and Religion▪ And what a terror the contrary will bring What a Blessing it may entail on you and your Families: And what a Curse will be on all them who are Enemies or false Friends to Religion. Also that the Work will be done, delive­rance and establishment will come to the Church. The Text assureth us of that: As also do other Scriptures. And if ye be wan­ting in your Station, and when opportunity is put in your hands, Mordecai hath pronounced what will be the issue of it. Esth 4. 14. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement, and deliverance arise to the Jews [Page 15] rom another place; but thou and thy Fathers House shalt be de­stroyed▪ And who knoweth whether thou art come to the King­dom for such a time as this. I have not in this Discourse been very particular in bespeaking your Care and Zeal for the things controverted among us: Partly, because time doth not allow to in­sist on such Debates; and partly, because I am confident that were men cordially for the Advancement of the Life and Power of Religion and unbyassedly for Christs Kingdom among us, they would readily fall into accord about the things that have been the matter of our Differences.


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